Gang violence, inmate recidivism, violence in schools, and human trafficking were among the topics discussed by Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon, Jr. at a community forum on February 27 at the Bayport-Blue Point Public Library hosted in conjunction with the Johnny Mac Foundation.
Sheriff Toulon, who assumed office on January 1, 2018, made special note of his office’s partnership with the Sandy Hook Promise School Safety Initiative. The Sheriff and his team have reached more than 25,000 students in Suffolk to help them recognize signs of peer distress, especially on social media, and to show them how to report concerning information to a trusted adult.
“I want to get to kids before they get to me,” the Sheriff said as he described his weekly visits to schools throughout the county to discuss such issues as drugs, bullying, vaping, and gangs. “I explain to them the value of making positive life choices.”
Errol Toulon is Suffolk County’s highest-ranking law enforcement official and the first African-American to be elected to a countywide, non-judicial office
Sheriff Toulon spoke with residents about instituting the nation’s first jail-based human trafficking initiative, which assesses inmates for signs of victimization. His office also recently expanded the County Jail’s vocational training program.
The Sheriff said that while the state’s bail reform laws were well-intended, they had failed to give judges the latitude needed to decide cases individually. He has been advocating to strengthen the new bail reforms.
Raised in the Bronx, Sheriff Toulon had served a 22-year tenure at Riker’s Island as a New York City Corrections officer, rising to the rank of Captain. He holds a maser’s degree in business administration and a doctorate in educational administration from Dowling College,
“Suffolk County is fortunate to be served by committed public officials like Errol Toulon,” said library board president Ronald Devine Jr. “The Library is pleased to offer programming that builds public awareness of public policy issues and challenges.”
The Johnny Mac Foundation, which provides financial support to families of fallen firefighters and first responders, and also supports local causes, is named in honor of the late FDNY firefighter John F. McNamara of Blue Point. Both Mr. McNamara and Sherriff Toulon had been World Trade Center first responders, and both would contract cancer in the aftermath of their service. Mr. McNamara died from the disease in 2009.
“I’m proud to call Sheriff Toulon a personal friend,” said Jennifer McNamara, founder and president of the Johnny Mac Foundation, and John McNamara’s widow. “Errol Toulon has demonstrated a life-long commitment to public service. He’s a valuable role model for Suffolk County residents of all ages.”